Well, duh.

You know, there are days when I realize that for however smart I was in grade school, that may well be how completely clueless I am as an adult about common sense things.

smart-vs-dumb

Gorgeous, either way, though, right?

See, I’ve been living in Orland Hills, IL for a little over a year now.  The town is so small that in order to use public transportation, you actually have to call a phone number more than 24 hours in advance and set up your ride.  It’s like paratransit, but for everybody.

When we moved here, I walked over to the town hall to get all of our paperwork in order, and I was told by some of the ladies who work there that I couldn’t bring my baby on the bus because they don’t allow car seats.  Thus began my year of walking everywhere and having absolutely crushing stir-craziness in the winter, wondering how I would make it until my son turned 8.

Well, today, I had enough of it.  It’s gorgeous outside (but -5 degrees wind chill), and despite having time travel seizures yesterday, I decided I was tired of feeling like a middle schooler who was impatiently waiting for one of her friends to get a drivers license. I decided to ask the hivemind — my friends on FB and the folks in one of the local parenting groups on there.

And do you know what they suggested? A taxi service.

benny

I’m not sure why it didn’t occur to me earlier, and I feel totally dumb for not thinking of it. It’s so simple and straightforward that it makes my head hurt.

For some reason, I thought that since we’re living in the suburbs, we wouldn’t have access to taxis out here… but we do! I even thought, “Hey! Uber might work!” but riding in an Uber with a baby and his car seat only works if the Uber driver is cool with it — and most of them aren’t. (Who can blame them? If my baby pukes, Uber’s not gonna clean it up for them, and if we are in an accident, the liability for them is too great.)

So, one of the ladies in the parenting group suggested a specific driver who works with her elderly mom, and I’m going to be giving him a call tomorrow.

I’m tired of feeling like less than an adult, simply because I can’t get where I want to go when I want to go. Henry deserves to go to the library, regularly. He deserves to go on playdates. He deserves a life outside of this house, and a mommy who has more self-esteem than I do right now.

Cabbing it might seem kinda costly, but I’m going to do everything I can to remind myself, when I’m feeling too cheap to give us freedom, that if I had a car, I’d be paying more for gas, maintenance, licensing, and insurance. Not to mention how much we’ll save on psychological therapy in the coming years for me and Henry. (No agoraphobia allowed!)

So, I’m now looking very forward to going to pilates or yoga classes during the day at our gym like I’ve wanted to for so long. I’m going to make friends here and be a functional member of this community. I’m going to stop using my inability to drive as a reason to feel sorry for myself. I’m taking back at least some of the freedom I’ve unconsciously given to seizure disorder.


On a completely different note, I was approached by an employee of Earnest a few weeks ago who asked me to write an entry on holiday budgeting. Over the course of our emails it appeared that they wanted me to suggest to my readers that they refinance their student loans. They didn’t offer me any compensation to promote them, so my link above exists out of nothing more than goodwill towards someone who may have read one of my entries, but who definitely has a tough job if they’re trying to get sporadic writers like me to pimp their product.

Anyway, I have a ton of tips that I would be happy to share about how I personally save money, but I also have a massive amount of respect for my small and dedicated group of readers. I don’t believe that y’all care one iota about reading about that sort of thing here.  If I’m wrong, let me know, and I’ll happily write it up for you.

Hope everyone’s feeling well, and that 2017 isn’t half the shitshow that the Great Dumpster Fire of 2016 was.

2016dumpsterfire

I’m so doofy, I forgot to title this post for several hours.

Priorities.

I just finished reading a great article on “debugging” our brains. As I was reading it, I came across this gem: facebookforever

Every morning, I wake up, feed the dog, text my husband, and immediately check both my email and Facebook notifications. This sometimes leads me to forgetting to eat breakfast until nearly noon. All I could think was, “How does he know?!”  Rather quickly, I realized, “I’m not the only one.”

Fortunately, the article lead to me getting off the computer (for at least a few minutes) and eating breakfast. I quickly followed that up with starting this entry, lest I forget to blog today.

It’s a beautiful day outside today in Chicago, so if I don’t get dressed and walk around outside for a while, I know I’ll be sore with myself. For me, weather doesn’t get any better than mostly sunny and in the low 60s. Hoodie-optional weather. It’s the best.  Fortunately, I live very close to both Marshalls and a couple of decent grocery stores.  I think when I’m done with this, I’ll put up some laundry to wash, get dressed, and head out to enjoy the weather and go shopping.

Of course, it’ll be easier to finish this entry if I stop bouncing back and forth between writing this, checking a couple of message boards, and answering email… No! Right! NOW! 🙂

So, what are my priorities for today?

  1. Figure out what on earth to make for dinner, so I can get the ingredients while I’m out.
  2. Do laundry so we have clothes to wear.
  3. Maybe even fold some of it… (Ok, let’s be real. This one belongs dead last on the list.)
  4. Make an appointment for Brisco to get groomed.
  5. Unstack the dishwasher.
  6. Do as many of the dishes that are hanging out in the kitchen waiting to be cleaned as I can before I start feeling punk.
  7. Make the bed and refill the humidifier.
  8. Tidy the living room.
  9. Go to the gym or at least get Adam to go on a walk with you for a half hour at the park.

Any more than that, and I know I am setting myself up for failure… so let’s focus on the good to get my attitude moving in the right direction!

Edit – 2 or 3 hours after I initially posted: I didn’t make it out of the house before storm clouds invaded. I constantly forget that my body is in far more control of the outcome of my day than my intentions. I figured out dinner. Laundry is up, dishes are soaking, lunch is baking… and I’m calling that a win.

awesome6

3 Great Things About Yesterday

  1. Spent some quality time with the in-laws.
  2. Had brunch with some friends we haven’t seen in a long time who are always great to be around.
  3. I know it’s gonna sound cheesy as hell – but there was a moment yesterday when, out of nowhere, Adam came over to me and said, “You need snuggles.” and proceeded to cuddle with me. That was, without a doubt, the best moment of the entire day. I love that man.

What made YOUR Sunday special?
 

Daily Cute

Please ignore that this is a commercial. Without the branding, it’s adorable.

Everyday Earbug

I can’t even explain why I like this song and particular mix so much, but I really do.
 
monday

The Return of Daily Awesomeness.

F*ck Facebook. Seriously.

Yesterday, I hit my limit with rage porn on Facebook, so I took 24 hours off.  I thought that would give me the opportunity to relax and stop getting so super angry with every annoying post that I saw.

Well, I was wrong.  Time did not help.  When I logged back in this morning, I saw a meme that both my mom and my mother-in-law had shared that was the internet equivalent of standing out on your front porch, shaking your fist, and screaming for kids to get off your lawn.  Normally, I’d be able to let that go. But not today. No, I had to let them both know that they were being uncool and were better than that.  That’s right. I mommied the moms.  I actually went back to my comment 4 times, trying to figure out how I could change my response to be more kind and loving.  Couldn’t change it. The voice in my head said, “No. They need to know.”

hateflow

The Dark Side is strong with me right now… and I’m not proud of it.

So, I’ve decided that it’s time for me to take some serious time off from Facebook.  If I can’t even be kind to my moms, I have absolutely no prayer of controlling my bitchiness with anybody else.

If I could magic Facebook into the medium I want it to be, I’d only be reading personal status updates that have to do with what’s actually happening in the lives of my family and friends, reading articles about things that make people happy, and watching videos of cute animals — and that’s it. The only way to make that reality happen is to actually contact the people I care about to catch up with them and share my daily awesomeness here. I’m not going to quit doing the things that help me keep good mental health just because I’m not doing them on that platform. And I know it sounds crazy in this day and age… but I’m going to actively check in with people to see how they’re doing… like it’s the 90s or something. Odd as it seems, I actually believe this will strengthen my friendships.

 

awesome1

3 Great Things About Yesterday

  1. Adam had prepared me for him having to stay late at work — but when regular quitting time rolled around, he was actually able to come home.
  2. Getting super frustrated and angry about the rage porn on Facebook helped me to actually willfully ignore it and spend the day doing things other than scrolling and reading articles online. I actually got more chores done yesterday than I had the entire previous week.
  3. Had a good time brainstorming on a game that I might make.

What made YOUR Friday fantastic?

 

Daily Cute


Scottish Fold kitties make my heart go sploosh!

 

Everyday Earbug


Betty Who is my new girl-crush. Berklee alum to boot! 🙂 I’m really lovin’ this track. It’s got a really late 80’s, early 90’s feel to it.

 

Hope y’all are all having a good weekend.

caturday

Make The Most Of Every Day.

Nothing throws your worldview into sharp perspective like losing someone you care about.

This morning, one of my friends from college died. He was only 35. He also happened to be the best guitarist I’d ever heard play (in person) in my entire life. And that’s saying something, honestly, because we went to Berklee College of Music and there is no shortage of amazing guitar players there.

Officially, the cause of death was that they couldn’t get his blood to clot… but he was in the hospital in the first place because of health complications caused by alcoholism. He’d struggled with it for years, but the last time we’d talked, he had things under control.

Alcoholism and RRMS are similar in many respects. You have to deal with them for the rest of your life. There are times of remission and there are times of relapse. It’s a rollercoaster you can’t get off or ignore. Alcohol addiction is a disease… it’s not all about choice. It’s actually a neurological disorder, just like MS. Unlike, MS, however, alcoholism will absolutely kill you. Alcohol doesn’t care who you are or what you do. It just poisons you. It just fucking sucks.

Shane’s death especially sucks because of how much inspiration he gave others just by being himself. He was a rock star. Literally. He played guitar on tour for Korn! He had 2 awesome metal bands of his own, Schwarzenator & stOrk that played in Los Angeles, and he taught guitar lessons to folks all over the world using Skype.

I remember meeting him. He was practicing guitar, sitting outside the classroom before ear training. I thought he was way too hot and talented to talk to. Fortunately, he didn’t think I was unapproachable. We even had mutual friends, and it was only the first week of our freshman year. I got to know him, and found out that he was just as big a goof as I am. Actually, goofier at times. 🙂

When I made the switch from percussion to voice, it was Shane who helped me get over nearly crippling stage fright. He didn’t tell me to think about people being naked. He didn’t tell me to stare at a place on the back wall. He didn’t even tell me to pretend that I thought I was awesome. He said (and of course I’m paraphrasing), “Everybody here (Berklee) thinks they suck. That’s why we practice so much. Focus on the music because that’s what it’s about. It’s not about you.”

When I was totally confused in Harmony 4, Shane was the one who explained chord scales to me. I never would have graduated without his help. Heck, aside from ear training and harmony classes that we had together, the guy sat next to me at our college graduation and walked right behind me when we were picking up our degrees. I told him that he should wear pink more often. 🙂 (When you graduate with a degree in music, you get a pink sash to wear.)

8 years after graduation, in what felt like another lifetime entirely, I was lucky enough to spend some time with him again. He helped me learn to play guitar and encouraged me to keep at it, even when I was dealing with the worst part of learning to live with seizure disorder. I remember feeling so embarrassed while I was seizing in his living room. He reminded me that he graduated with a degree in music therapy, and that I wasn’t the first person he’d seen have a seizure. He said that if anything can help me feel more “in control,” it would be practicing.

I feel very lucky to have had him in my life.

Random Message Generator: For The Win

There’s this random message generator on Facebook called “God Wants You To Know.” Occasionally, I click on it for shits and giggles. I do this because I very firmly believe that everyone and everything in creation is God. God is, in my mind, comprised of the totality of existence. Because of that, I find myself smirking at this random message generator, occasionally thinking that maybe it *is* telling me what I need to know at a certain moment.

Today, its message was this:

“[I]t’s time to STOP going through the motions of living, and START living.”

If that wasn’t a bit on-the-nose for today, I don’t know what is. There’s nothing like the death of a friend to remind you both of your own mortality and the importance of living each day to the fullest.

Sometimes, while dealing with MS and seizure disorder, making goals and being creative feels impossible. I think it’s important, though, that we never let ourselves stop dreaming.

Daring to Dream

I know that I try to live every day the best that I can. Sometimes, just existing is a tough gig. But just existing isn’t why we’re here.

My dreams right now are fairly straightforward, and I’m doing my best to achieve those dreams.

I want to be a mother. Been working towards that for a couple of years now. Day after tomorrow, I actually have an appointment with a high-risk pregnancy OB, and I’ve just finished my last pack of birth control pills. The only medication left to stop before conception is Prilosec, and I’m probably gonna stop taking that at the end of the week.

I want to travel. There are places I’ve always wanted to go, and one of the best things that Adam and I made when we were dating was our “world tour” plan. Sure, it’ll take a lifetime to see even half of the places on our list, but I’m game to try. I want to see New Zealand, Australia, Italy, Greece, France, and Japan at some point. I wouldn’t hate spending more time in the tropics either.

I want to be happy with my body. I say this as someone who has felt like she has been at war with her body since elementary school. I go to the gym any day that I’m well enough to do so. I struggle with what’s “right” to eat. I hate looking in the mirror. I feel like a weirdo when I wear makeup, but I feel like I’m supposed to wear it or else I’m not feminine enough. Body issues blow. It’s a genuine dream of mine to one day be happy with my body as it is.

I want to create art of lasting value. I don’t know whether or not this blog counts as art. More often than not, it feels like some sort of confessional. I songwrite from time to time, but I stubbornly refuse to write out the music to any of it. I feel like the computer should be able to “hear” it and make the notation happen. I can’t explain it. It’s a weird bit of resistance that I’ve struggled against since high school. More than that, though, I don’t know if my songs are a real contribution to the world. Maybe my big contribution is a novel. I’ve started and tossed 3 books so far, all of them with about 3 chapters written. Hell, maybe my future kids are the real art project. Whatever the case, I just want to be remembered for something good.

I want to inspire people to live life as well as they possibly can by living my life as well as I can. I want for folks to be able to say that because they knew me, their lives were better. I don’t want to always be complaining about MS. I want to be able to show people that they don’t need to hold themselves back from happiness because of chronic illness.

Those aren’t even close to the dreams I had as a kid. Back then, I wanted to be a rockstar. I wanted my music to magically change the world into a kinder and cooler place. I wanted people to carry my songs in their hearts.

In college, I saw how many incredibly talented musicians had the exact same dream as me… so my dream changed. I learned all about how the music business worked. I wanted to start a business that would revolutionize the music industry. I wanted to promote indie music until it became mainstream. I wanted to be a multi-millionaire and to have enough money to be able to make lasting, positive changes in politics.

When I was in law school, I wanted to be able to protect people who couldn’t protect themselves. I wanted to make it possible for folks who had the talent, drive, and passion to create art to do so without fear of being screwed over. I wanted to enable people to film their movies and record albums.

My dreams nowadays seem banal in comparison. I just really want to be happy and healthy. And I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. I think, instead, maybe it’s a sign of maturity.

Today, I’m just really grateful to still be alive. When I consider how many times I’ve struggled with suicidal ideation, I’m grateful for all of the love and support that kept me going to therapy until I conquered it. I’m grateful to still have the chance to make a positive difference. I’m glad to be living the life I have, and I’m going to keep doing my best to make the most of it.

A Convention Just For Us

There are days where I wonder to myself why I ever went to law school.  Today is one of those days.

I woke up after a really excellent dream.  I had put together a convention for my Facebook friends and their Facebook friends only.  It was by invitation only. Everyone had fun playing board games, dice-rolling RPGs, and watching movies and bands.  All of the bands that played at the convention were friends of the group.  Folks like Schwarzenator, Joyce Lee and The Killing Shoes, and Esque.

I got to thinking today, and living that dream is totally plausible.  I have a lot of event coordination experience, and some truly excellent friends.  I bet I could make one hell of a convention/party for about a thousand people or so.  I think it would take at least a year to plan properly. I just need to make a business plan for it, and get some people on board to help with it.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: why not just get your friends to go to a convention that already exists?  I mean, there’s ComicCon, GenCon, DragonCon, AwesomeCon, and so many others that I could go on… and honestly, it’s because I don’t want to do what’s already been done. I’m not looking to do the same thing that’s already out there. I’m looking to get us computer geeks together in a social atmosphere.  I’m not looking for cosplay. (Though with my friends, I wouldn’t rule it out…) I’m not looking for comics. (The books — funny people, however, I *am* interested in!) I’m not trying to force people into playing games with strangers. I’m looking for a party with friends and friends of friends.

One of my friends, Reichart Von Wolfsheild, started BIL – the Southern California counterpart to TED.  He’s a huge inspiration to me. One of the things I can see happening at this convention is inspirational talks by folks like me who have chronic illnesses who are letting people know how they cope with their issues and live their lives to the fullest.

I think I’d also have some people in the entertainment industry, like folks who are involved in TV or who are professional musicians come and talk about what their daily lives are actually like.  Maybe visual artists too.  I’d call the track “Secrets of the Universe.” 🙂  Because that shit needs to be demystified and de-glamorized.

Anyway, I think getting this idea out of my head and into the real world is the best that I can do for myself and for the world today. It’s a step in the right direction.

By all means, let me know what you think – positive or negative. Just don’t be surprised if you’re negative if I don’t listen. 😉